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Workshop on Jammu and Kashmir Economy Organized at JU

JAMMU: A one day workshop on Jammu and Kashmir Economy: The Road Ahead' was organized today by the Department of Economics, University of Jammu in the Brig Rajinder Singh Auditorium. Prof. A. N. Sadhu was the Guest of Honour and the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences; Prof. Jasbir Singh was the Chief Guest.

Prof. A. N Sadhu and Prof. Jasbir Singh highlighted the need for diversification of agriculture and horticulture sectors along with food and horticulture processing industries, besides harnessing the potential of hydropower, tourism, handicrafts, so that much needed investment opportunities are tapped.

Earlier, Prof. Prakash C. Antahal, Head, Department of Economics welcomed the participants, including the representatives of government, commerce and industries and civil society, and academics and researchers.

Prof. Falendra K. Sudan Workshop Coordinator highlighted the objectives and significance of the workshop. Dr. Shallu Sehgal conducted the proceedings and Dr. Sunita Sharma presented the vote of thanks.

The inaugural function was followed by a policy session coordinated by Prof. Dipankar Sengupta and Dr. Aroon Sharma, wherein Vikrant Kuthiala emphasized on sector-specific consultations and estimation of industrial contribution to exports and incentives for industrial boost and new investments including infrastructural development. Naveen Pargal emphasized on the need for small industrial clusters at tehsil levels to boost handicrafts and Manik Batra advocated for improving the ease of doing business, removing red-tape and leakages by following a Single Window Policy along with clear vision document for industry in J&K. Mukesh Thapa emphasized on need for New Industrial Policy and industry collaboration with education, agriculture and other relevant sectors of the economy.

Rajesh Gupta emphasized on development of tourism policy before the proposed Investors' Summit be framed along with development of network of transport infrastructure in Jammu region. Annil Suri emphasized on development of manufacturing sector by providing fiscal incentives and marketing and logistics support including developing a long-term industrial policy for J&K.

In the research session, the key note speaker Prof. Balwinder Singh Tiwana from Punjabi University, Patiala talked about the development experience of Punjab and underlined that the development model followed by Punjab has failed and the state has all the problems today inspite of the fact that it was at the top during the period of green revolution and the Jammu & Kashmir should learn from the mistakes committed by Punjab.

Other resource persons of this session were Prof. Raj Mahajan, Central University of Jammu, Dr. Dalip Kumar, National Council of Applied Economic Research, Prof. B. N Singh and Dr. S. S. Yadav including others presented their research findings.

The deliberations of the workshop highlighted that in changed economic scenario of Jammu and Kashmir, economic recovery is imperative for speedier economic development. In this context, new development strategies have significant role to play in strengthening economic recovery in different sectors of the Jammu and Kashmir economy.

Restoring investor confidence and strengthening economic stability will help prevent future economic slowdown. Therefore, robust sector-specific economic policies can attract much needed investments to rebuild the Jammu and Kashmir economy.

Democratic economic institutions and policy regimes can help to decrease ethnic favouritism in providing of public goods and will help to build inter-ethnic trust and also attract much needed public and private investment to develop basic infrastructure, boost tourism, indigenous and modern industries and thereby generate employment and growth. The public and private sector driven reconstruction efforts will be highly effective in economic recovery.

It was further deliberated that the economy never disappears altogether during past several decades. Some normal economic activities remain. However, some general trends and common characteristics of economic recovering in aftermath of Abrogation of Article 370 can be discerned, which can improve the prospects for economic recovery.

For instance, Jammu region has emerge from low level development trap with accumulation of economic assets, human capital, functioning institutions and a formal economy that still works, while Kashmir do not, and still face larger hurdles to both sustainable development and economic recovery.

Therefore, policy and programme regimes must be designed and tailored to each region and circumstances.

The regional experiences of other states are imperative in this context, which suggests that economic recovering and development leads to reduction in poverty and inequality, generation of employment in leading sectors.

Therefore, economic recovery activities must be based on broader experiences of states with similar level of development and socio-economic features and how their economies have been transformed in recent past so as to draw lessons for Jammu and Kashmir economy through process of socio-economic transformation. It is not the mere restoration of past economic structures and dynamics and levels and trends.

Therefore, economic recovery in the aftermath of Abrogation of Article 370 is multidimensional and may take longer time. Besides the research scholars, Dr. Ravinder Singh, Dr. Gopal Sharma, Ajaat Jamwal and Harsh Dogra and others were present in the workshop and also participated in the deliberations.

In concluding session, the vote of thanks was presented by Dr. Virender Koundal.

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